The Cinematic Appearances of Tom Waits and his Music

From Taste of Cinema, a well crafted feature on Tom Waits, which includes a write up on TWFNO, beginning with:

"Preceding Ralph Bakshi’s “American Pop” and Richard Linklater’s “Waking Life”, this seldom-seen curio reemerged with the advent of the internet. And thankfully so-it’s 6 minutes of visual and musical joy. A hybrid between an animated short and a music video, it features Tom captured and re-imagined with an aid of exciting new technology."

For the full article, see:  The Cinematic Appearances of Tom Waits and his Music.

Art Opening in Volda, Norway!

The Animation Volda 10th Anniversary festival in Volda, Norway will feature "Tom Waits For No One" and the music videos "Take On Me" (A-ha) and "Sledgehammer" (Peter Gabriel) on September 22-25, 2016!

Cels, rotoscope drawings, limited edition books and the original Tom Waits For No One Illustrated Scrapbook will be on display with a gallery opening hosted by Gunnar Strøm, the leading expert on animated music video. ... with John Lamb making a special guest book signing event.

All you Stray Dogs and Rain Dogs who helped bring the The Illustrated Scrapbook to life, you'd be a welcome sight in this northern clime!

Book release party!

It's official folks, the book signing party jumpstarts the public release of Tom Waits For No One: The Illustrated Scrapbook, Saturday, November 14. 

We invite you come join us, it's going to be one heck of a ride!

October update

The process of finalizing the book has been a labor of love - but it has tested our endurance and tested our mettle. 

The story has been tuned, re-tuned, dialed-in, polished and now has a tremendous shine. With a hoot and swig of Jameson's Irish Whiskey, the final draft was sent to the publisher tonight. 

The book required all our attention in July, August and September.   Fitting it in, we also test printed the dust jacket, tested the packing of the rotoscope drawings and the books, and ordered the shipping materials. It's been a gargantuan three months!  

For all your patience, here's a early look at two pages from the book. Hold tight - shipping will commence in October. 

September update

The first draft of the book, text, images and formatting is complete - it's taken hours and weeks and with some final formatting and clean-up remaining, we'll be getting the first test prints in September. We remain on target to have the book published in October.

The Scrapbook includes newspaper articles, concert ticket stubs, drawings by the animators... stuff that will take you back to 1979, while also providing a view of the young animators' frame of mind during the production of Tom Waits For No One.

Test page from The Illustrated Scrapbook

The first edition printing of 250 hardcover books will be signed, numbered and will include a gorgeous dust jacket. October will be here soon...!

August update ... full steam ahead!

Wow - progress, progress. So where to start...?!?

The effort to recover the live action footage from TWFNO is completed. John Lamb and camera man, Garrett Lamb, made the looong trek from Los Angeles, California to Boston, Massachusetts via red-eye to the only person known who 1) has a working Lyon Lamb VAS on premise, and 2) has the masterful skill set needed to pull the remaining images off 35 year-old film.  

John is slowly slogging through the hours of recovered footage to timestamp and log each section that is noteworthy and acceptably clear. Some footage is gorgeous. (Unfortunately, other footage is little more than white noise - which is pretty much what we knew to anticipate.)

The recovery process itself turned out to be an epic feat. The film was infested with mold and the cleaning process entailed over 36 hours of manual effort with custom chemical treatment specially designed by the recovery master himself, John Fede.

John Fede of Audio Video Recovery Services, with John Lamb, in Natick, MA.

According to Fede, recovering film is a soon-to-be lost art. When pressed, John admitted he is the youngest guy at his company and he has no proteges. John preps and repairs all his equipment; the mold removal process and chemical mixtures were created by John and his mentors - there is no manual to read, and no school to teach what they have learned over decades. We were so fortunate to get the TWFNO tapes into his facility, it's hard to overstate.

So when Lamb presented our stack of tapes, Fede took a look, said "holy cow, we've got some work to do" and immediately got to cleaning. Three days later, there was footage to view, which Garrett got some photos of:

One of the originals. Time to roll the tape...!

Viewing TWFNO live action footage for the first time in decades.

There's still much more work to do on prepping the footage to share with the Kickstarter backers. All the footage wasn't this clear, but John's excited about what he's seen so far, and we look forward to sharing it once we have the book is completed.

So what about the book?

The first draft was just completed and is being uploaded (right now) for the editing team to review. After first draft editing is completed, we anticipate additional review and edits with a test print in August. Based on that timeline, we're realistically looking at sending out for final printing in September.

For those who ordered the bundles, we expect to ship in late September or early October! Holy cow, time flies.  

Kickstarter update, July

June's done, now it's time to ship...!

TWFNO postcard set

TWFNO postcard set

The postcard sets have arrived and they are a knock-out! 

Each color image is on 5" x 7" cardstock with a matte finish, featuring the cover of the scrapbook itself, one insert of the original storyboard image by John Lamb and photos from the film shoot at the old La Brea Stage. Four beautiful Tom Waits character study drawings by Keith Newton complete the postcard set - making this limited edition printing not only rare, but truly worth framing.

However, if you have a friend in mind, the postcards are addressable and the back features a rotoscoped Waits, with text to set the card's context in place and time.

Postcard back

Postcard back

Backers who ordered the postcards only will see them ship in July. 

So what else is new??? 

The tees required a ten color process to render the image as close to the original as possible - and it turned out beautifully. Shirts will also ship in July for those who ordered shirts only.

For those who ordered the book, the rotoscope drawing or a bundle, the first test print of the book has been received and we love what we John's hot onto the next draft.

The rotoscope drawings are being handpicked and will be shipped in early August. When the book is completed, the bundled rewards (book, rotoscope drawing, t-shirt, postcards, etc.) will be shipped, most likely in September. 

Hold tight, there's more to come!

It's a wrap!

Thank you to everyone who supported the successful Kickstarter campaign - we can't wait to get the book completed!

Much love to those who made this campaign possible:

Garrett Lamb: videosmith deluxe

Jeremy Farrance: fearless, tireless and maker of beautiful images

Gary Lamb: the voice of the campaign

Jack Lamb: brother in arms

John Lamb: the guy with the crazy idea for a rotoscoped music video in 1978

Rex Lamb and Lamb Screen Printing: the merch team

Zach Cordner and the Trans Visual Arts team: the book layout kings

Stretch goal #2 - 6 days to go!

  The campaign is stretching towards it second goal to restore the film and integrate the live-action footage of Tom Waits filmed in 1979. If you haven't contributed yet, head over to the campaign and chip in for rare items and exclusive access to the live-action and restored footage.    


The campaign is stretching towards it second goal to restore the film and integrate the live-action footage of Tom Waits filmed in 1979.

If you haven't contributed yet, head over to the campaign and chip in for rare items and exclusive access to the live-action and restored footage.




We've reached our funding goal and "Tom Waits For No One: The Illustrated Scrapbook" will be published!

Thank you to everyone, family, friends and you wonderful folks who contributed to give this film a second life! 

Our focus will now shift to restoring the original live action footage. The campaign remains open for 25 more days and we've set up a stretch goal to lead to the recovery the live action footage used making the film.

© John Lamb 2014